Ulysses III

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Sean Coffee
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Fri Apr 05, 2013 3:20 pm Post

KB wrote: I feel this actually promotes it too much rather than tucks it away. Any user trying out Scrivener for anything other than scriptwriting will suddenly have that menu in their face, and it might feel that Scrivener is *too* geared towards scriptwriting for such users; it might also encourage our vocal screenwriting contingent to demand that, seeing as Scrivener boasts about "Scriptwriting" in its menus, it now at last implement MORE and CONTINUED etc. :)


More and Continued are not for spec scripts. That's a request you should continue to ignore. :) Also, I disagree with you about a dedicated menu making Scrivener look too geared toward scriptwriting—to me, it just says "here's another thing you can do, but it's over here. It's a different mode, and you need to use this menu." I get what you're saying, though.

KB wrote: Now, if it were promoted but could be hidden, that might work, but I'm not sure that the HIG allow main menu items to be hidden like that, as the idea is that the menus act as a way of discovering features.


I thought about hiding it too, but then how would someone know how to do a script? I mean, there's RTFM, but that's just begging for an extra hour a week of customer support for you.

KB wrote: I've been doing that today! I've been going through every preference and assigning it a category in OmniOutliner, trying to work out a better system of organisation. It's hell, though, because as soon as you start putting things together, you realise there are other things that sort of belong with them. (E.g. "Media background colour" and "Use smooth line art in PDF files" - both media-related, great! Until you realise that the media background colour can be set differently for QuickReference panels and full screen mode, too...)


It's a complex thing, I know! I started to make a little list when I was posting above, and it quickly gave me anxiety.

I had a thought about putting certain preferences in multiple panes — giving people two ways to do some things, with clicking the SAVE CHANGES button making the change The Truth in all preference panes. But that's just asking for trouble, right?

And I think that begins with a standalone Fonts pref pane. Creating a Fonts preference pane — just that alone — will simplify, by my count, 4 different preference panes. That's my radically simple solution.


KB wrote:My current thinking - and I'm still experimenting - is to have the "Appearance" pane have sub-tabs, like OmniFocus's Sync Preferences pane:

Image

There would be three tabs: "Options", "Fonts" and "Colors". Each tab would have a sidebar listing interface elements.

That, at least, is the best I've come up with so far - and it should reduce the proliferation of panes and sections quite significantly if I get it right.


I love that idea!

KB wrote:I'd essentially have to rebuild the entire interface out of custom views which take font and colour instructions and various other options, and then swap out the real interface for that interface and... Argh, I'm getting scared just thinking about it.


I didn't mean to scare you. Wait, yes I did. :D

jo
jonmoore
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Fri Apr 05, 2013 3:51 pm Post

KB wrote:On another simplification topic, I'd be grateful to anyone who could help with these questions about project structures in Scrivener:

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=22692

Thanks!


On the general note of simplification (and not wishing to sound contentious) I think that Scrivener only appears to be complex because of the myriad of customisation options. The 500 odd page manual doesn't help with that false impression of complexity either (the Take Control ebook on Scrivener does a fabulous job of parring down the essence of Scrivener in an intelligible and approchable manner in only 100 or so pages).

My suggestion would be to offer two types of customisation. One would be simple and template driven (five or six flavours), the second would be an enhances version of the existing preferences dialog for advanced users. I personally now find the multitude of options available to me through the preferences dialog extremely helpful. But when I first returned to using Scrivener V2 having not used it since the very early days of V1 I was completely lost.

My bible when it comes to simplification is John Maeda's wonderful little book, The Laws Of Simplicity - http://d.pr/deV - An whilst some of his laws sound a little 'no shit Sherlock' in isolation; taken as a whole they add up to a powerful way of thinking about any simplification project. In a nutshell they go as follows:

1. Reduce - The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction
2. Organise - Organisation makes a system of many appear fewer
3. Time - Savings in time feel like reduced complexity
4. Learn - Revealing knowledge over time makes everything simpler
5. Differences - Simplicity & complexity need each other
6. Context - What lies on the periphery of simplicity is definitely not peripheral
7. Emotion - Emotional involvement can ease complexity
8. Trust - Trust leads to simplicity
9. Failure - Some things can never be made simple

In summary - simplicity is about subtracting the superfluous, and adding the meaningful.

I'd still grab the book if you haven't read it before - as useful as my Guardian like book in 30 seconds summary is :) - as you'll read it cover to cover in an hour or so. It really does focus the mind for any type of simplification project.

V1 apps like the new Ulysses remind us of how powerful parred down options can be but deep customisation has it's uses too!

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vitomar
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Fri Apr 05, 2013 9:24 pm Post

I think that Ulysses III and Dedalus Touch make a great match. I already had DT but it was a little a lone piece of work, but now I find it very useful with U3 (that seems something like an ongoing work with great potential).
While waiting for a perfect version of Scrivener for iPad, there is a lot of movement out there in the AppStore. I think that a work-in-progress version of Scrivener for iPad would be well accepted by us users. Perfection is a very good thing, but.. (OK, I know your position about this!) :lol:
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res tene, verba sequentur.

ma
marcoiac
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Sat Apr 06, 2013 5:13 am Post

jonmoore wrote:In summary - simplicity is about subtracting the superfluous, and adding the meaningful.


couldn't agree more. i find scrivener very simple. it's very possible it's just because my own personal needs match very well the most salient features of scrivener. i never even bothered to read the manual. i just used it and find myself using it more and more for rather unorthodox projects, scrivener-wise. very short projects that still benefit from parsing, chunking, re-organizing the flow of the argument. great tools tend to work well in the most unexpected ways.

ma
matsgz
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Sat Apr 06, 2013 6:09 am Post

KB wrote: it might also encourage our vocal screenwriting contingent to demand that, seeing as Scrivener boasts about "Scriptwriting" in its menus, it now at last implement MORE and CONTINUED etc. :)


Keith, you are on to something there... on the right way. More, more—continue, continue...!
Scribo ergo sum

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Rayz
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Sat Apr 06, 2013 8:12 am Post

I've played with it and I really like it :D

Ulysses III looks stunning. I love the rounded page edges and the whole markup thing works well. I''d probably use it for short works, but for novel length pieces I think it has quite some way to go.

Part of the reason that Scrivener's setup can be complicated is because it offers so many options for editing and export. It's possible to go straight from Scrivener to RTF/epub/mobi without having to do any final polishing in another word processor (though it would be great if I could strip superfluous blank lines from the end of each document during export). Which works for me because I hate round-tripping. Ulysses III is hasn't reached that level (in fact, it's still some way off from Ulysses II).

Then I played around with Scrivener's settings for a few minutes and managed to achieve a similar onscreen layout with the exception of rounded corners on the pages. The SoulMen's choice of the Menlo font was inspired.

Ulysses stores everything in one place. There's no notion of separate projects, which I imagine makes syncing across the Mac platforms a lot easier. Whether we like it or not, I think this is Apple's ultimate plan for file storage and syncing across their desktop and mobile platforms, so we'll have to get used to it.

Ulysses III shows a lot of potential, but I don't think it's a Scrivener competitor (I can't really see myself writing a book with it), and doesn't need to be.

ma
marcoiac
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Sat Apr 06, 2013 7:01 pm Post

Interesting thread, lots of thoughtful comments and themes. I didn't download U III and most likely I won't. I am tempted because the Soulmen make very pretty apps. DT looks very pretty on my iOS devices, and yet, I rarely use it. I got U II on a $1.99 offer (I believe Ulysses original price was over $100, that's quite a drop), and tried to play with it and use it, but it just doesn't do it for me. I guess Keith is right, the philosophies are so different that I don't see U and Scriv to really compete. For me, U looks like more a note-taking tool. But for note-taking, Notebooks works much better for my needs (folder structure, can read all sorts of files, etc.) Indeed, NB is much more than that (I used it also as my to do list). And now there is also a Mac beta version. I guess I find the Soulmen philosophy a little too rigid and their choices not exactly the choices I would have made. I am afraid I won't be the only one. U III may not have the impact the Soulmen were hoping for. And that's a little sad because they are clearly passionate about their choices and they work hard to deliver. But as someone already remarked in this thread, they are making choices that confine the users to their own apps, rather than allowing their apps to interact flexibly with other apps.
Not sure why Keith wants to rethink some aspects of Scriv. There is complexity in Scriv, but you don't have to use it, if you don't want to. (I definitely don't) But I bet there are users out there that like and use almost daily the many complex things that Scriv allows.

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ptram
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Sat Apr 06, 2013 11:22 pm Post

I love Daedalus Touch, and I think I will love Ulysses III. But I don't use DT, and I don't see myself using U-III for other than some short stories.

Why? I don't know. The look and general concept of both apps is terrific, but there is something that doesn't make me feel at home.

Paolo

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KB
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Sun Apr 07, 2013 2:56 pm Post

jonmoore wrote:My suggestion would be to offer two types of customisation. One would be simple and template driven (five or six flavours), the second would be an enhances version of the existing preferences dialog for advanced users.


This was in fact one thing I had been considering. The main reason I am wary of doing something like this is that it reminds me of educational word processors that have different "levels" for different ages which turn on or turn off certain features, and I also think that as soon as you put in buttons that open "Advanced" options, it's like a red flag to some users telling them to stay away. So my first approach will be to try to simplify access to existing options, I think, but I certainly don't rule this approach out if it could be done right (another problem is deciding exactly which options would be "advanced", of course...).

My bible when it comes to simplification is John Maeda's wonderful little book, The Laws Of Simplicity... I'd still grab the book if you haven't read it before


I've just ordered it from Amazon. I like how it's less than 200 pages, which is apt - too many authors take 500 pages to lecture on simplicity of design. It's also nice to receive a recommendation for a book on design from someone who appreciates Scrivener as-is - I have been know to run swiftly in the opposite direction from UI book recommendations made by users writing to us to tell us how Scrivener is just too complex, they're not going to use it, we should totally redesign it etc (fortunately we get very few such emails; they just tend to stick in the mind more than the nice ones). I also appreciate these points:

3. Time - Savings in time feel like reduced complexity
5. Differences - Simplicity & complexity need each other
8. Trust - Trust leads to simplicity
9. Failure - Some things can never be made simple


Because some things make life simpler only because you first went through a learning curve (I always compare it to driving, and have an image of some of the more vocal "everything-should-be-as-simple-as-Notes-on-iPhone" crowd refusing to use a car because it has too many pedals and mirrors, which could surely be simplified). It's always good to step back and take a fresh look at your work, though, because as a program evolves, it's easy to miss where new features could have better been combined with old features.

Thanks!

All the best,
Keith
"You can't waltz in here, use my toaster, and start spouting universal truths without qualification."

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KB
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Sun Apr 07, 2013 2:59 pm Post

vitomar wrote:I think that a work-in-progress version of Scrivener for iPad would be well accepted by us users.


I very much doubt they'd accept not being able to read any text documents, sync with the desktop version, add new documents, or have the inspector work consistently - there's a big difference between an early version of software and software that's not finished. :)
"You can't waltz in here, use my toaster, and start spouting universal truths without qualification."

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KB
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Sun Apr 07, 2013 3:02 pm Post

marcoiac wrote:Not sure why Keith wants to rethink some aspects of Scriv. There is complexity in Scriv, but you don't have to use it, if you don't want to. (I definitely don't) But I bet there are users out there that like and use almost daily the many complex things that Scriv allows.


Just to clarify, I don't want to rethink anything major. I'm only talking about reorganisation of the Preferences and some of the options that really belong together, along with continuing to refine Compile so that it doesn't *completely* baffle new users.

All the best,
Keith
"You can't waltz in here, use my toaster, and start spouting universal truths without qualification."

jo
jonmoore
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Sun Apr 07, 2013 3:15 pm Post

KB wrote:Because some things make life simpler only because you first went through a learning curve (I always compare it to driving, and have an image of some of the more vocal "everything-should-be-as-simple-as-Notes-on-iPhone" crowd refusing to use a car because it has too many pedals and mirrors, which could surely be simplified). It's always good to step back and take a fresh look at your work, though, because as a program evolves, it's easy to miss where new features could have better been combined with old features.


In total agreement ref the OS X simplification purists.

One feature I personally would love to see is a plain text mode so that all writing under the draft folder structure was saved as .txt files rather than .rtf. That would would really suit those of us that love to write all our content using Markdown. And further to that it would be great if the integration with Marked went further so you could preview individual elements rather than the compiled document.

Apologies for slipping in a feature request, I just couldn't resist knowing that I had your attention. :)

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AndreasE
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Sun Apr 07, 2013 3:37 pm Post

I'd like to mention that I (as somebody who doesn't write scripts) never felt irritated or annoyed by the presence of Scrivener's script-writing features; I am almost not aware of the fact that they exist. If the scriptwriters are happy with them, I would suggest to simply let them as they are.

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ptram
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Sun Apr 07, 2013 3:50 pm Post

I second the "Advanced" button for Preferences. Better, I would like a "More/Less" button, that expands the current preference pane, showing the advanced features.

I think I saw something in the Adobe suite. I like it more than buttons opening dialog boxes, and more than too many Preference panels.

Paolo

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vitomar
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Sun Apr 07, 2013 3:59 pm Post

KB wrote:
vitomar wrote:I think that a work-in-progress version of Scrivener for iPad would be well accepted by us users.


I very much doubt they'd accept not being able to read any text documents, sync with the desktop version, add new documents, or have the inspector work consistently - there's a big difference between an early version of software and software that's not finished. :)



I can't agree more! Maybe I hoped in a more advanced stage of development of iOS version!
However, I'm very fond of the great job you made with Mac and Windows versions of Scrivener. We will wait as needed (as a matter of fact we must wait!), but we want also let you know how anxious we are to see your mobile version! :(
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res tene, verba sequentur.